The man helping Jarrod Croker become Raiders’ next ‘great captain’

IF Jarrod Croker is to be the best captain in the game, he must learn from the best.

And that’s why Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has enlisted the help of multi-premiership winning Raiders legend Mal Meninga this year.

Stuart revealed in November he had spoken to his fellow club legend about a consultancy role with the Raiders, designed specifically to help Croker develop as a leader.

And while Croker played down Meninga’s job when asked about his work, he revealed he regularly meets with the current Australian coach who has become a mentor of sorts.

“I wouldn’t say he’s been back at the club, he’s been back in town,” Croker told

“I caught up with him a couple of times, we went and had a coffee and had a bit of a yarn for an hour or so.

“He also came up to the Sunshine Coast when we had a trial game up there, him and Steve Walters and a couple of other guys came for dinner.

“Not an official role, unless something happens going forward, I’m not sure.”

Meninga won three premierships with the Raiders and was long-time captain of the club, whose current best and fairest medal is named in honour of the legendary centre.

Croker has been full-time captain of the club since 2015.

Coach Stuart explained how Meninga could act as a personal adviser and mentor to the 27-year-old centre and captain.

“Jarrod has all the integrity and respect of his fellow players. He’s a local boy achieving all the goals he wants, in regards to playing,” Stuart told

“He’s a wonderful club man with an outstanding character as a person.

“So that’s why he’s our captain. But I need some help in making Jarrod a great captain.”

Croker wouldn’t go into great detail of his relationship with Meninga, but explained their catch-ups aren’t solely focused on football.

“I just caught up with Mal a couple of times to have a coffee and a chat. Just life in general, leadership, a bit of everything,” he said.

“He’s done a lot in the game on and off the field, so he knows a lot. Every time I get the chance to catch up with him for a coffee or a feed I jump at it.

“He’s done it all, he’s captained everyone, he’s done all you can in the game.

“He’s going to be great for me going forward as a leader and I’ll just try to get what I can out of him.”